9 Best Restaurants in Gowanus, New York City

Ample Hills Creamery

$ Fodor's choice
Among artisanal ice-cream fans, nobody has earned a more passionate following than Ample Hills, the Prospect Heights creamery started by screenwriter Brian Smith and his wife, Jackie Cuscuna. Their Gowanus branch churns with families and ice-cream aficionados, who pack the second-floor terrace and attend ice-cream-making classes. Favorite flavors are Mexican Hot Chocolate and Salted Crack Caramel.

Four & Twenty Blackbirds

$ Fodor's choice
Pie, ordered whole or by the slice, is why you come to this rustic flagship of the Elsen sisters' enterprise. The bakers are experts on the topic, having written a definitive book and appeared in basically every food magazine around. The café usually has five or six pies, plus a variety of baked goods.

Bar Tano

This Italian corner restaurant with a lively bar scene is perfect for a casual meal, happy hour deals at the bar, and a leisurely weekend brunch or a romantic dinner. The menu hits all the high points, from bucatini pesto and carbonara, to a daily whole fish and wine-braised short ribs with polenta. Pizzas are great to kick off the meal.

Recommended Fodor's Video

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que

When this upstate legend opened an outpost in Gowanus, it was if Union Street was anointed barbecue row. With 180 seats, sidewalk picnic tables, and family-style orders, it's good for groups. There are "custom 'que" specials on weekdays and the St. Louis ribs and beef brisket are favorites.
604 Union St., Brooklyn, NY, 11215, USA
Known For
  • Pulled pork—the dish that put this Syracuse-based chain on the map
  • Live music Friday and Saturday nights


Laid-back and welcoming Ghenet is where to dig into Ethiopian dishes with injera, the slightly spongy sourdough bread, made fresh daily. Use it to scoop up fragrantly spiced dishes like tuna or steak tartare, kitfo (finely chopped prime beef, cooked and aggressively seasoned), and the aromatic doro wett chicken stew.
384 Douglass St., Brooklyn, NY, 11217, USA
Known For
  • Tej (homemade honey wine)
  • Can accommodate gluten-free eaters with advance notice
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: No lunch weekdays

Hey Hey Canteen

The Asian comfort food and creative twists on standard dishes pique curiosity, and with inexpensive pricing, it's possible to try a lot of items in a single visit at this low-key spot. On the unusual side, there's eggplant fries with shallot aioli, a Caesar salad made with chrysanthemum leaves, and green fried rice with spinach and cilantro. Noodle dishes and Hong Kong fried chicken are main entrée standouts.
400 4th Ave., Brooklyn, NY, 11215, USA
Known For
  • Closes at 9:30 pm
  • Creative mix of ingredients
  • Hong Kong fried chicken sandwich
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Closed Mon. No lunch Sat.


Diners at this "upscale shack" feel like they've been transported to a beachside New England restaurant, where clams—the eponymous littlenecks are popular—and ice-cold craft beer are served early and often. Look for a Portuguese chorizo-and-seafood stew and an excellent lobster roll on the menu. For dessert, it's just doughnuts!

Root Hill Cafe

This beloved neighborhood café keeps 'em coming with inexpensive and tasty breakfast and lunch, baked goods, and Nobletree Brazilian coffee roasted in Red Hook. Large windows let in lots of light, which is one of the reasons that customers tend to linger.
262 4th Ave., Brooklyn, NY, 11215, USA
Known For
  • Being serious about closing at 5 pm
  • Hipster vibe
  • Customers working while drinking (coffee)

Runner & Stone

Day or night, bread—everything from brioche to baguettes to ciabatta and more—and house-made pasta are the main draws at this farm-to-table restaurant, café, and bakery owned by baker Peter Endriss and chef Chris Pizzulli. Mornings mean fresh croissants and breakfast pastries, lunch focuses on sandwiches with choice of side, and dinner features seasonally inspired entrées. Homemade ingredients, down to the butter and ketchup, enrich the dinner menu.